Jimmy Fallon, the hangdog comedian from Saturday Night Live and Fever Pitch, will be taking over Conan O'Brien's late night spot sometime next year. (Hamilton is really excited about his house band!) The actual start date won't be until March probably, but in the meantime Mr. Fallon will be rolling out a series of 5-minute-long 'webisodes' (annoying modern slang for short things on the internet), starting tonight at 12:35 am, on NBC's website. It will be a great chance for the audience to figure out what they'll be getting with Jimmy, and a really great chance for Jimmy to fuck this whole thing up before he even makes it to air.
♦ It's the question that has been keeping you up for days now: Where is Alex Rodriguez going to spend Thanksgiving? First it was reported that A-Rod planned to stay in New York. Now People now says he plans to have dinner with his ex-wife and their two kids in Florida. But Madonna is on the scene, too! Maybe in the spirit of the holiday, they'll all just join together and be thankful for what they have? Kidding! [People, TMZ]
♦ The parents of Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal are broke, apparently. [P6]
♦ Did Heidi Montag and Spencer Pratt really get married in Mexico or was it just an elaborate publicity stunt? [AP]
Do you feel that tingly spark in the air today, especially as you near Times Square? It's because Total Request Live, MTV's long-running afterschool music video special is coming to an end after ten years, signing off on Sunday with a special big send-off bash. Yes, one of the last remaining programs on the cable net to still air videos (albeit at truncated lengths and often interrupted by shrieking teenagers) will be no more, ceding like everything else to the Date My Moms and Hills of the world. Ironic, because in some ways, actually, the top 10 videos of the day countdown show helped create the new MTV landscape that eventually came to usurp it. The draw of TRL was never really the actual videos. It was the spectacle view of dizzying Times Square, the live-ness, the celebrity appearances, the affable and comfortably hip hosts (Carson Daly! And, um, Jesse Camp! And that girl from One Tree Hill!) It was really about the lifestyle of liking music, the thrill of just being thrilled, the ecstasy and immediacy and bittersweet fever dances of being a kid and out of school and having stumbled upon this great big infinite thing called Personality (I like this song—I am rock! You like that video—you are pop!). That celebration of the culture of music, rather than the music itself, has spilled over into the network's current top hits, like The Hills. That particular reality dollop of non-fat Cool Whip expertly employs the hit songs of tomorrow to evoke, along with the swirling cameras, a soaring and sprawling range of feelings. Like music usually is in real life, music on MTV now serves as the illustrative background to the people dating and getting made and dancing and competing and existing in the fore. And we've TRL to blame/thank for that—for adding a bit of shape to the world as it's seen through the MTV lens. It said "here we are, set at on all sides by movies and television and pretty people and hormones, and here, in brief, is the soundtrack to accompany all of it. And you chose it." And those huge picture windows overlooking the crowds and lights and glitz, through which we could look out and others could look in! A glass case of emotion! !!! Click to view
When we heard the news that MTV mainstay TRL was headed for that great cancellation box in the sky, we decided to get some inside scoop from one of the people who knew it best: former MTV VJ Dave Holmes. The music buff first appeared on the channel as the runner-up to Jesse Camp on MTV's 1998 Wanna Be a VJ contest, but he outlasted the offbeat Camp and hosted multiple shows on MTV, eventually ascending to his own major place in the TRL firmament. So what does Holmes make of the cancellation — and the current state of MTV in general? Lauren Conrad, you've been warned:DEFAMER: How did you hear that TRL was going off the air? DAVE: I think I saw it on, like, Huffington Post or something. There wasn't a 3am phone call or anything like that. DEFAMER: How did you feel when you heard the news? DAVE: I hadn't watched [TRL] in a long time, but it was kind of a bummer, you know? It was a funny show where a lot of people who I still work with got their start. It'll be missed. DEFAMER: Had you heard any rumors about its demise? Did you see this coming? DAVE: I'm a little bit out of their demographic right now, so I hadn't heard anything. I check in every now and then, but I don't recognize a soul who's on it anymore. Damien [Fahey] does an awesome job, but I have no idea who the artists are at all. Like, I don't get Tokio Hotel. I don't understand why they're trying so hard to get them into them in the running. But yeah, I kind of thought that it might be coming. In 1999, 2000, there were a few huge stars. Now, there are a ton of semi-big stars. There's nobody that every thirteen-year-old girl can agree that they love, that they'd skip school and hop on the train and stand in Times Square to look at through a window. DEFAMER: But what about a show like 106 & Park, which I think is still BET's highest-rated show? How can a music video show like that succeed while TRL is cancelled? DAVE: Yeah, I don't understand how it doesn't make sense to at least keep it on. I mean, it's MTV's last music show, it's like their little clubhouse. It seems like the kind of thing they would want to keep going on forever, but then, what do I know? I mean, I just saw my first episode of The Hills last night, so what the fuck do I know?
One of the final shows on the MTV roster to still fulfill their "M" classification, Total Request Live is at long last drawing to a close. Once the state-of-the-art in boy-band-disseminating technology, it allowed viewers to e-mail, text, and phone in their votes, while offering them the thrill of seeing their feedback—"OMG Tom DeLonge izz zooooo hot. Blink-182 roxx so hard!!! LUV U GUYZZZZ :D BlinkGrl182"—crawl along the bottom of the screen in real time.It had multiple hosts over the years, but it's Carson Daly with whom it will forever be associated: A little-known Bay Area DJ dropped into the gig of a lifetime, he instantly became the fantasy dream boyfriend of billions of American teenage girls—and very nearly avoided early tragedy by calling off his engagement to Tara Reid. Variety reports the show "will depart in mid-November with a two-hour Saturday-afternoon special," replaced by the more popular Feedback New MTV, or FNMTV. We salute its departure with one of its greatest-ever moments: Part 2 of Mariah Carey's infamous TRL meltdown, when she called the show naked from her shower, shattering untold eardrums along the way with a sustained high G.
In "support of his Irish roots," the mediocre late-night talk show host (and WGA picket-crosser) will support Proposition 3-17. In case you think that's important: it's not. It's just a Guinness-sponsored petition to make St. Patrick's Day an official holiday. Daly will rally with New Yorkers tomorrow in Herald Square to make it so! Which is completely unnecessary; the Irish don't need special holidays to go around drinking al fresco. [Proposition 3-17]
Who could forget that disconsolate look on Carson Daly's face when we caught up with him at CES in Las Vegas, lamenting the absence of the beloved staff of gag writers that make each and every episode of Total Late Night Live a journey worth taking (if you can't afford cable, and CBS comes in really fuzzy regardless of where you point your bunny ears). But news of the strike's resolution isn't likely to do much to raise the spirits of the crestfallen talk show host, as the network has celebrated their return with a hearty round of axings. Deadline Hollywood Daily reports:
While on the ground in Vegas with the Gizmodo crew at the 2008 CES, in-house, camcorder-brandishing Gawker Media troublemaker Richard Blakeley unexpectedly found himself face-to-face with embattled™ Last Call host Carson Daly, the late-night canary NBC sent down its talk-show coal mine long before it dared to force his better-leveraged peers Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien back in front of the cameras.
You've no doubt noticed that Carson Daly's been demonstrably less gut-bustingly hilarious these past few weeks sans pro writers —the bon mots his niece texts him from math class usually fall flat—but the show hit a new low last night when the material-starved talking head, openly looking to kill a few minutes, held a "talent" show featuring members of his put-upon staff. Listen to the tone of voice of everyone in this thing. Heaven's Gate members were peppier.
NBC execs have their hands deep inside sad puppet Carson Daly—having told him that his entire staff would be fired if "Last Call" didn't go back on the air—and so the poor (but unfired!) staffers have taken to the stage themselves, performing stupid human tricks. Oh boy. How bad is writer-free "Daily Show" going to be when Jon Stewart is forced back on the T.V. on January 7? This strike is ugly.
Carson Daly's Last Call is hiring! (At least for an assistant to the Executive Producer.) The ideal candidate will, naturally, need to have all the essential coffee-procuring and errand-running experience necessary to function in any fast-paced TV production environment, but also "must be willing to take drug test and submit to a background investigation." (Hey, NBC boss Ben Silverman passed his, so that shouldn't be much of an obstacle for a qualified applicant.) Also, potential hires should possess the ability to think on their feet, not needing an explicit command from the EP before they're willing to taser any striking Writers Guild members who've infiltrated the studio audience for a renewed attack on the frazzled, vulnerable host. [Monster.com]
Having survived a public buggering following the announcement that he'd be the first late-night talkshow host to cross the WGA picket line and the subsequent publication of his hilariously misguided e-mail plea for gag-writing help from non-union friends and family, an embattled™ Carson Daly had to know that more sanity-fraying good times were in store for him once he returned to produce new episodes of Last Call without his writing staff. On Tuesday night, a team of striking writers infiltrated Daly's studio audience (an action not sanctioned by the Guild, we're told), briefly ruining his penetrating interrogation of Dancing with Stars also-ran Jerry Rice before security restored order to the Last Call world. A tipster forwarded this firsthand account of last night's shenanigans (there's also an amusing, if headache-inducing, cell-phone recording of the disruption, which we hope to share shortly):
After viewing Carson Daly's initial writerless effort on his revived Last Call Monday night, the NY Times opines that even though there's been much hand-wringing over the host's decision to be the first late-nighter to cross the WGA picket line, "a bland interview with the underwear model Karolina Kurkova and pop music by the Plain White T's" is hardly going to be the death of the Movement, as Daly is not exactly threatening to fill the void left by the darkening of The Daily Show and Saturday Night Live sets. True, but the next thing you know, the Scottish guy who's on after Letterman gets back to work, and from there it's a slide down a slippery strike-breaking slope that doesn't end until Ryan Seacrest is guest-hosting for Leno for months. [NY Times]
Late-night host Carson Daly, somehow still on television after making his name on MTV's TRL, here explains his decision to cross the writers'picket line. Hollywood writers are refusing to work because they want to be paid for content distributed over the Internet. A question: Would anyone even be able to tell the difference if Daly's show lacked professional writers? Did it even have them before the strike?
About a week after the controversial announcement was made that Carson Daly would cross his writers on the picket line and return to Last Call, the highest-rated late-late night talk show among graveyard-shift convenience store clerks looking for a break from watching closed circuit video feeds of their empty parking lots, the embattled host finally returned to the airwaves Monday.
Perhaps wounded that some disgruntled, newly laid-off Tonight Show staffers anonymously griped that their early-bonus-proferring boss had failed to equal the generosity of peers like eventual successor Conan O'Brien, who'd previously pledged to financially support every last self-abusing bear and incontinent, bolt-excreting robot on his payroll during the writers strike, host Jay Leno has decided to join the compassionate ranks of late night TV saviors by covering his employees' salaries on a week-to-week basis. Christmas is saved!
Responding to Tuesday's reports that not only was Carson Daly choosing to be the first late night talk show host to cross the WGA picket line and return to work without his striking scribes, but that he'd undertaken a hilariously ill-advised e-mail campaign to organize friends and family into an ad-hoc staff of gag-writing scabs, the Guild announced late yesterday that it was tearing every last TRL-era Tiger Beat magazine cover featuring Daly's smirking image from their headquarters' walls in protest, releasing this statement of Official Disappointment: